By Marcus Henderson
Even when Pastor Miguel Rodriquez (CQ) was recovering from surgery for a burst appendix in 2015, he stayed involved with the Prison Sports Ministry. From his sick bed he recruited teams to visit the prison.
For 10 years Pastor Rodriquez has been a hard-core sponsor. He has played and brought teams in to play basketball, baseball and football, and he’s working on recruiting teams for soccer.
“I really work hard for these guys. I think everyone deserves a second chance. God can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary,” Rodriquez said.
He started coming here with the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary (GGBS) and took over as the director. The seminary is now called Gate Way Seminary. Gate Way teaches college courses on ministry to inmates.
“What he reflects is character,” said Lincoln Hill player John Galiste. “He loves the people here and he loves all people. His fire never goes out. He is an inspiration. He always lets us know when there’s a game and always shows up.”
“It’s not about the sports or the wins and losses,” said SQ Warrior General Manager Robert “Bishop” Butler. “It’s about the message these men bring in here. I had a chance to study with the pastor in the chapel. He truly has a pastor heart. His faith and dedication inspires us all, especially him taking time off from his church and family. He is a quality person who has contributed a lot to this program.”
Pastor Rodriquez said, “When I was 5, I knew God was real when I knew death was real. I was watching a cowboy movie and I asked my mom, ‘Do people really die?’”
Armed with that little bit of information, 9-year-old Rodriquez moved to Honduras with his grandparents. He felt rejected there because people were calling him a gringo. But coming back to the states didn’t make it better because they were calling him a dirty Mexican.
“I felt I didn’t belong anywhere until I found my identity in Christ,” Rodriquez said. “I credit the Youth Ministry Group for that. As a youth, that’s where you need structure. You need adults to believe in you. Sometimes all we need is a touch that everything will be OK. I can imagine that some of the people here probably wouldn’t have done what they did with just a touch.”
Pastor Rodriquez tries to bring that “touch” to those he sponsors.